Seminar Details

Seminar Details

Title: Can School Improvement Reduce Inequality?
Speaker: Stephen Raudenbush, EdD
Speaker Link: https://sociology.uchicago.edu/directory/stephen-raudenbush
Affiliation: University of Chicago
Host: Robert Gibbons, PhD
Position/Department: Lewis-Sebring Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Sociology, the College, and the Harris School of Public Policy Studies; Chair, Committee on Education
Location: AMB W-229
Start: 10/31/2018 3:30:00 PM
Url: http://health.bsd.uchicago.edu/

Abstract:

Many social scientists have concluded that school improvement can have little effect on inequality in a world where enduring neighborhood and family inequality constrain the life chances of low-income children. In this talk, I will present new theory that explains a) why low-income children benefit more from early schooling than do high-income children; b) why this equalizing effect diminishes with child age; and c) why elementary school improvement can be a powerful strategy for reducing inequality. The theory is based on a counter-factual account of the consequences of school attendance. Empirical evidence on the expansion schooling supports this theory. Next, I will share new evidence from two randomized trials that illustrate the potential power of ambitious pre-school and elementary school reform to promote the cognitive skills of low-income minority children. Desegregation of neighborhoods and schools is not necessary to produce these effects, which have theoretical implications for improving the health and well-being of children born in poverty.